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I am doing a Science experiment at La Colina Jr. High School. My experiment is with levitation. I have built my stand and have successfully levitated a magnet. I have thought up some questions for you.

1) About how strong is diamagnetism at it's strongest (how much would a magnet be repelled by a piece of the strongest diamagnetic material in the world, strongest meaning how strongly diamagnetic)?

2) Is everything diamagnetic at least to some extent (besides magnets)?

3) What is a Superconductor?

4) What is the strongest diamagnetic material besides superconductors?

5) What is the study of materials and what kind of job would that be?

6) What career does Diamagnetism/Levitation relate to?

7) Could you tell me about your career at UCSB? And what does it entail?

Question Date: 2012-12-16
Answer 1:

1. Diamagnetism is generally very weak, but is constant with temperature. At high temperatures, other forms of magnetism (paramagnetism, ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism) become weaker, so diamagnetism can play a more significant role.

2. Yes, everything with electrons is diamagnetic. With magnets, the diamagnetic contribution is usually small compared to contributions from paramagnetism or ferromagnetism.

3.A superconductor is a material in which charge flows without resistance. Some other phenomena also accompany the superconducting state, such as the Meissner effect, whereby the material opposes and excludes all magnetic fields from within itself.

4. Superconductors are 10 000 times more diagmagnetic than any other material; however, the next best contenders among well-known materials are Bismuth and crystalline graphite.

5. We study materials because we want to use them for specific purposes. For example, for the study of superconducting materials, there are many potential uses if we could get the critical temperature up high enough. Accordingly, there is a lot of research that goes into efforts to increase the critical temperature. This research usually involves trying different elements, and modifying the crystal-structure to better understand how these changes influence properties such as the superconducting transition temperature.

6. The study of diamagnetism could be approached in several careers, though you'd most likely find interest among physicists, chemists, and engineers.

I'm a chemist working in materials science, and I spend my time researching materials with interesting properties that we want to use in technology. It involves picking systems that we think are interesting, making the materials (usually using high temperatures of 1000 degrees Celcius or higher), measuring their properties, and then changing specific conditions to see how the properties change. Once we figure out how the properties are influenced by certain conditions (such as adding other elements), we can then rationally improve the properties.

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